Addo Elephant Park

After arriving late that evening, we decided to spend two nights at Addo Elephant Park, giving us a full day and a half to explore.

We weren´t sure what to expect, some places we´ve visited seem to hide their animals well and you can end up driving around for hours seeing very little.

We needn´t have worried! The park is beautiful, well laid out and the trails clearly marked. The animals roam freely across expansive plains.

I woke up early on the first morning and headed straight for the waterhole in the hope of seeing something more exciting than I had the previous night. Two jackals in the distance and a little duiker up close made for a promising start to the day.

I met a South African man from nearby East London at the waterhole who gave me lots of good advice on where to drive and where not to as we ventured further east – and also strongly advised we lock all our doors all the time whilst driving. For those of you who have read our Angels and Demons post already, you will know how grateful we became for his guidance!

But then it was time to jump into Henry and head out into the park itself to see what the day held.

We started off with plenty of animals of various types, happily going about their business, unconcerned by the Landrover.

Then we had our first elephant siting. James was the first to spot one in the bushes on the side of the road and before we knew it we found ourselves sitting in an elephant-highway as they slowly crossed from one side to the other. Some in front, some behind. We were transfixed, sitting quietly letting them have right of way.

It was almost impossible to take photos because of the angle but the wing mirror managed to catch one the youngsters as she followed Mum.

Not long afterwards we came across a herd of zebra sitting by the path. They looked as though they were having a family get-together, chewing the cud and passing the time together with funny stories.

It´s unusual for zebra to allow you so close, I was absorbed playing with my zoom lens for hours.

We pulled up by the river and at first it seemed empty.  But then James spotted movement and we were surprised to see terrapins way off in the distance.

But regardless of the name of this park, it appeared that the most protected and valued creature in it was the humble dung beetle!

Warning signs were everywhere telling us to watch out for them crossing the road and not to drive over elephant dung as that´s where they live. We came across them a number of times and always maintained a safe distance whilst they crossed!

As we made our way around the park we started to see more and more elephants, which is always a thrill…..

If sometimes a little nerve-wracking!

As dusk settled we headed back to camp before the gates closed. But even in the campsite the wildlife was boundless!

We treated ourselves to a meal at the camp restaurant and had an early night ready for a concerted effort to find lions the next day!

Early next morning we headed into the southern part of the park where the lions are most often seen. We drove all the way to the west of the park then all the way to the east, up and down every road. Slowly, slowly, eyes peeled, binoculars focussed.

We were treated to plenty of wonderful animals….

But the lions were a no show…

So eventually, at lunchtime, we decided to give up and head out of the park, we would try again in Kruger!

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